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How I Survived Post-Partum Panic Attacks

The only thing I could hold onto were my instincts, even when I thought I lost my sanity.

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After my second healthy, beautiful baby was born in 2009, I experienced a health scare like none before. Through the following months of his birth, I struggled with physical ailments from nausea and dizziness, to migraine attacks and tremors. I suffered with pain throughout my body daily, near fainting episodes and restless leg syndrome. When I began having auditory hallucinations, I truly believed I was going insane.


I found myself in the emergency room multiple times, at numerous specialists and I had many medical tests performed. Every test came back normal, and the more normal they assured me I was, the more I thought I was insane. My instincts, usually very good, kept telling me something was medically wrong. The doctors all told me nothing was wrong. This disagreement caused mayham within me, resulting in recurring panic attacks.


As the months passed, I continued going to specialists, determined to find out the cause of my symptoms. During that time, the panic attacks grew fierce and I was told by my OB-GYN that I was experiencing post-partum depression. I was given a referral to a psychiatrist, and even though I am an advocate for all mental health help, my entire body wretched, as if violently rejecting this diagnosis. That was my instinct screaming at me…NO.
I had to find a way to simmer these debilitating panic attacks, while still being able to function as a mother. By month 6 post partum, I wasn’t sleeping at all, so I began reading everything I could on coping with panic attacks. Although every day was a tremendous battle, there was no way I was giving up on myself, my children or my life. No matter how bleak it seemed, my instincts kept poking at me, and that gave me hope.


Eventually, I was able to shorten the attacks. I found certain tools worked better for me than others. A particulair book I read, Hope and Help For Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes offered the first tool that truly helped me. Dr. Weekes is known as the “woman who cracked the anxiety code”. She teaches simple exercises that help treat anxiety and nervous disorders. She details how our natural instincts are to fight the panic off, which in turn causes more panic. It is just the way our nervous systems work. Instead, she teaches you to simply float with the panic, accept it for what it is, and allow it to run it’s course.


Learning this technique and experiencing the results gave me new strength. I tried many different methods and supplements, finding a combination of what worked best to reduce the panic attacks and suppress the anxiety. Being able to do this, without help from a doctor, stirred something inside. My physical symptoms persisted, yet, I felt strong and empowered. I felt in control. I pushed back at my doctors. I argued that they were not fighting hard enough for me. I told my doctors I felt brushed off and unheard. Sadly, this fell on deaf ears and I was referred, once again, to see a psychiatrist.


As fate would have it, a phone call from a friend changed my life. I had shunned all my friends though those terrifying months, embarrassed at who I’d become. I suppose she had finally had enough of being ignored and called until I finally answered. I shared everything with her, and we cried together. Before we said goodbye she suggested I plug every symptom into a search engine, and write down ten illnesses associated with those symptoms. “If you haven’t been tested for them, go in, and demand to be“, she said.


That is how I discovered I have Celiac Disease.

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